When you gain weight, what you can see is only half the story. Yes, that’s true, what is visible on the outside also happens to be on the inside – you gain weight inside your body around your organs.
The fat around your organs, the invisible fat, is called visceral fat, and whilst you cannot see it has the biggest impact on your health. This visceral fat gets in the way of metabolism hormones and results in, first of all, digesting your food slower… What does this mean? Well, the slower you digest your food, the faster you gain weight. The faster you gain weight, the larger your body and the higher your blood pressure and increased risk of stroke.
Fat also increases the body’s resistance to insulin. Insulin resistance happens when cells in your muscles and liver don’t respond well enough to the hormone to easily take up glucose from the blood and as a result your body makes more insulin to help glucose enter the cells and this ultimately increases your risk of type 2 diabetes.
“Insulin resistance is when cells in your muscles, fat, and liver don’t respond well to insulin and can’t use glucose from your blood for energy. To make up for it, your pancreas makes more insulin. Over time, your blood sugar levels go up.”
Even visible fat can be dangerous. Think about fat stored around your neck. It can restrict breathing by compressing your airway which may ultimately lead to sleep apnoea – a sleep disorder that can lead to a greater risk of high blood pressure, heart problems, and type two diabetes.
“Obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) is a relatively common condition where the walls of the throat relax and narrow during sleep, interrupting normal breathing. This may lead to regularly interrupted sleep, which can have a big impact on quality of life and increases the risk of developing a certain condition”
Carrying extra weight brings about a host of other health risks and losing just a little bit of excess body weight can significantly reduce the risks of heart disease.
It’s easy to make changes if you start by taking small steps. Choose one or two of the following changes – which can give immediate results – to start your journey to a healthier life:
- Introduce more fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins into your diet.
- Buy fresh ingredients to cook your own food and eat real food.
- Replace all unhealthy oils in your cupboards with healthy options for cooking.
- Cut out sugar – anything that contains sugar – any type of sugar (not that easy, but start by just looking at how much sugar you are taking in).
- Start a regular fasting routine – find a fasting meal plan that works for you.
- Find healthy options for snacking if snacking is a habit.
- Cut out all processed foods
- Get more sleep – at least 8 hours
- Go for a daily walk